News for 2008
Thanks to our MIT contacts (and to satisfy popular demand) we will now
have a TWO DAY conference, on March 27 and 28, 2008 ,
(Thursday and Friday) on campus at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
On Thursday, we will be in the Stata Center (Building 32), Room 141(map),
and on Friday, we will be in the next building down, Building 34, room
101 (the large hall)
Directions to the Site The easy algorithm for getting there
is to get on the T (the Boston Subway), get out at the Red Line
Kendall Square station and stand in the middle of the street. Look
around; you will see the Kendall Mariott hotel (big tall hotel). Walk
past the hotel with the hotel on your right side (this is west). Walk
two blocks; you will be at a funny intersection with the road to the left angled
at about 45 degrees. Take the 45-degree road. The first building on
your left is building 32- the Stata center; it looks like something
only Gehry could design. Building 34 is another 100 meters further
along, also on the left.
This two-day format will allow us time to add workshops and tutorial
sessions, and give us additional flexibility in accepting papers. Our
scientific standards won't change but we will be able to accomodate
more information and different styles of presentation than the prior
We will also have an evening "beer and munchies" event hosted by
the ISP division of Comcast, on Thursday evening at a local, (and very
high quality) "establishment". Details will be distributed at the
afternoon session on Thursday.
Registering for the 2008 MIT Spam Conference
To register, just send an email to
MITspamconf2008@yahoo.com . Note that this mail will be read by
a real human, so free-form formatting is fine and we'll get a response
back to you. Note - this *will* put you on the human-administered
conference mailing list. We appreciate preregistering; that way, we
know how much food and drink we should have on hand.
2008 Papers now available for download!!!
The gzipped tar archive of the MIT Spam Conference 2008 is now available for download:
Individual papers & slide presentations are linked from the "Accepted Papers" list below.
We now have an accepted papers list. Here's the authors, affiliations, and papers:
A. O'Donnell - Cloudmark - Game Theory applied to Zombie Bots (keynote!)
J. Aycock - U. Calgary - Black Market Botnets
B. Bruen - KnujOn - KnujOn
A. Cosoi - BitDefender - False-positive-safe Neural Networks
S. Kubisch - Rostock U. - IPclip
M. O'Reirdan - ComCast - ISP Botfighting
K. Liszka - U. Akron - Neural Networks for Image Spam
A. McElligott - Geobytes - Casekeys
C. Mills - Microsoft - Metafeature training
J. Nagle - SiteTruth - Blacklisting Collateral Damage
P. Tom - spamDB.com - Botnet Clusters
R. Rajabiun - ComdomSoft - Multilayer Filtering (PDF of paper)
S. Sarafijanovic - EPFL - Open Digests
N. Yamai - Okayama U. - SMTP Session Abort
J. Zdziarski - Secure Computing Corp. - Adaptive Parsing
Additionally, we will have workshops on the following topics - these
are open-ended "guided discussions", typically for one hour:
A. Cosoi - Social Networks and their implications
J. Fitzpatrick - the Malware Ecosystem
T. Eggendorfer - Introduction to Advanced Filtering
W. Yerazunis - Best Practices: What's in YOUR Spam Firewall?
The Chair wishes to thank the referees (who remain nameless),
who by their care and consideration helped produce these high quality
|Time|| Item|| Who || Topic |
| 09:20AM || Breakfast || Everyone||Coffee, Bagels, Juice, Cake|
|09:50AM || Chair Opening || Yerazunis|
|10:05AM || Keynote ||O'Donnell||Game Theory of Botnets|
|10:35AM || Botnet Track ||Aycock||Black Market Botnets|
|10:55AM || ||Tom||Botnet Clusters|
|11:15AM || ||O'Rierdan ||Major ISP Botnetfighting |
|01:05PM ||Workshop 1||Fitzpatrick|| The Malware Ecosystem |
|02:05PM || **Break**|
|02:15PM ||SMTP Track ||Bruen||KnujOn|
|02:35PM ||Yamai||SMTP Session Abort|
|03:15PM || **Break**|
|03:15PM ||Rajabiun||Multilayer Filtering|
|03:35PM ||McElligott||CaseKeys |
|03:55PM ||Workshop 2||Eggendorfer||Advanced Filtering|
|04:55PM ||Adjourn || Reception |
|06:00 PM||Reception|| Courtesy COMCAST|
|09:00 AM||Breakfast ||Everyone||Coffee, Bagels, Juice, Cake|
|09:30 AM||Chair Opening||Yerazunis|
| 09:40 AM|| Neural Networks || Cosoi|| False-positive-safe Neural Networks|
| 10:00 AM|| ||Liszka || Neural Networks for Image Spam|
| 10:20 AM|| || Mills|| Metafeature Training|
| 10:40 AM|| **Break** |
| 10:50 AM|| Workshop 3|| Cosoi|| Social Networks|
| 11:50 AM|| Lunch|
| 01:20 PM|| Advanced Filtering|| Sarafijanovic|| Open Digests|
| 01:40 PM|| Nagle|| Blacklisting Collateral Damage|
| 02:00 PM || || Zdziarski|| Adaptive Parsing|
| 02:20 PM || **Break**|
| 02:30 PM || Workshop 4 || Yerazunis|| What's in YOUR Spam Filter?|
| 03:30 PM || Best Papers Vote || Everybody|
| 03:40 PM || Closing Remarks|| All authors/leads|
| 03:50 PM || Adjourn || Yerazunis|
New flexibility in paper submissions
The new longer conference, plus experience in last year's issues
with the U.S. State Department delays in issuing entry visas,
leads us to try a new and much more flexible paper submission
-- Authors may submit papers and tutorial / workshop proposals
ANYTIME from now (20 September) to the final date (1-March-2008). If
because of the weekend you cannot submit the full paper / workshop /
panel on March 1, please send an abstract only to the Chair
with the subject line of: YOURNAME - EXTENSION REQUEST
and you may automatically recieve an extension to
include Monday, March 3.
-- the Paper Referees will either give a commitment of "Yes, your
paper or tutorial proposal or workshop proposal is accepted"
or "no, and the reason why is..."
within two weeks of electronic submission. If necessary, we can
supply both electronic and physical-paper approval documentation
should it be necessary for getting a US entry visa approved.
-- Any author may use this early submit / early decision method;
the Referees may also provide additional feedback (both for accepted
and declined papers). After all, the real goal
is to have the best conference papers possible at the conference.
In this way, we can provide a much longer time window for overseas
authors to get their US entry visas; we apologize for any inconvenience
this may have caused in the past.
What to submit for papers, tutorials, and workshops
-- Submissions for standard papers should be the paper plus any optional
-- Submissions for tutorials (basically one to two hour
short courses) should be the proposed syllabus,
a one-paragraph bio of the volunteering lecturer, and supporting materials.
If a topic is long, split it into two parts (i.e. Frobbing I and II).
-- Submissions for
workshop topics (hour-or-longer discussion groups) should
be a one-paragraph explanation of the topic, plus
a one-paragraph bio of the volunteering workshop moderator.
As before, please send conference submissions (and any other questions)
to the conference
You should expect a confirmation within 1 business day, and referee's
results within two weeks.
Topics for Papers, Workshops, and Tutorials
Valid topics for 2008 include not just plain spam, but "other cybercrimes"
such as phishing, IM spam, SMS spam, MMORPG spam,
blog spam, trackback spam, photo spam,
stock pump-and-dumps, email con games, exploit marketing,
zombie bots and
bot armies, setting up antispam systems, and antispam countermeasures
including hardware, software, wetware, and blue-ware
(i.e. employing the police).
The common thread remains the same - dealing with undesired and
communications; that's the center point of this conference and proposals
should relate to that.
We will again have an audience vote for the best paper award, and if
at least two student-authored papers are presented, a best student
Anyone doing work in the spam, anti-spam, or other related cybercrimes is
welcome to submit their results; we don't discriminate between academic,
corporate, or private researchers; everyone competes on an equal footing.
Heck, if you're a spammer and you want to talk, that's OK; submit a
proposal and we'll give it a fair look.
Paper Judging Criteria
Papers should be technical in nature, and should
give enough information so that a reasonable coder could reproduce
your work and see if it works for them as well (science requires
a reproducible experiment; without reproducible results we are not
papers and papers that use unique facilities to gather that
information are welcome as well; assume that the reasonable coder could
have access to big-ISP facilities, computation, or bandwidth if your method
Papers should not be sales pitches or "high level overviews"; lack
of enough technical information to reproduce your results will probably
cause your paper to be rejected. The one big exception to this is that
text corpora of private communications are not expected to be published.
Paper Mechanical Criteria
As our conference publication
method is strictly electronic, we have no rigid limits on page count.
Make your paper exactly as long as it needs to be, and not a word
longer; if you bore the judges, that will influence their scoring. We
can accept papers in any of these formats: PDF, Microsoft Word,
OpenOffice, and plain ASCII text papers. Additionally, we can accept
"enhanced" submissions, so include proposed slides (even drafts) if you
feel it will help the judges in their decision. We don't require
'blinded' papers, nor perfect final drafts until the time of the conference.
Please name your paper's filenames by the last name of the author who
"first contact" on the paper, and by a central keyword; for example, if you
were Max Brooks and writing about zombie armies, then:
would be a good submission filename.
Please do NOT name your paper something like "MIT_SC_2008.pdf"
because everyone does that and we end up with dozens of papers all with
the same name and that never works out well.
Paper republication/replication and copyright
By submitting a paper to the MIT Spam Conference 2008, you grant
a universal right for your paper to be electronically reproduced by any
interested party for the purposes of learning and research.
Every paper will be read by at least three referees; referees may recuse
themselves for any reason on a paper and do not need to explain their
reasons for recusement. If time allows, referees may give improvement
feedback to paper authors; we want the best conference
papers possible and referee comments are valuable insights.
Referee feedback is by default anonymous; however
a referee may choose to reveal their identity with their feedback on
improvement; like recusement, referees may exercise this option without
As the MIT Spam Conferences are "free for all interested parties to
attend" events, we actively solicit sponsorships. Sponsorships are
orthogonal to paper acceptance; sponsoring (or not) will not affect
whether a paper is accepted (or not). What sponsorship *does* get an
organization is casual, at-conference access to attendees to establish
personal relationships (typically tables right next to the coffee and
donuts); in the past this has led to both hirings and business
partnerships. Sponsorships are based on a "not to exceed" pledging
system, and sponsorship pledge sizes are scaled to the size of the
Sponsors may also hold off-campus events; these events are "associated
with but not part of" the MIT Spam Conference. Please contact the chair
if your organization would like to do something like this.
This year, COMCAST will be hosting an off-site reception (within easy walking distance) at 6 PM.
Sponsorships are used to pay for instructional media, refreshments, and
keynote speakers; the conference staff is all volunteer.
If you can help run the conference, please let us know! We can use
just about everything from simple "I know where the good restarants
in Cambridge are" to paper referees.
We especially can use people who know how
to run AV equipment and can get video with good audio up onto
YouTube in near-real-time.
The 2007 Conference
Thank you all for a great conference, especially the
paper referees (who shall remain, as always, secret) and
the ConCom members Lenny Foner and Bryt Bradley.
We would like to thank MIT-CSAIL and MIT itself for
allowing us the use of MIT facilities to hold this conference,
and Mitsubishi Electric Research
and Reputation Technologies
for their financial sponsorship.
The "Best Paper" award (by audience vote) goes to Ken Simpson
and Stas Bekman of
MailChannels for their paper on
paper on SMTP Multiplex routing. In a moment of sheer irony, the trophy
(a suitably decorated can of Genuine Hormel
Spam ) was awarded to Ken,
who then revealed that he is a long-time vegetarian.
Papers and Proceedings
The MIT Spam Conference proceedings for 2006 and 2007 are freely
downloadable .iso CDROM images, which can be burned directly to CDROM
for archive purposes; there are also gzipped tar archives available, if
you're looking to read on a screen instead of burning directly to
If you are burning CD's and you have a couple extra, please burn two
or three copies- one for yourself, one to be added to your department
library, and one to be added to your university or institute library.
MIT Spam Conference 2007 Complete Papers and Proceedings (.iso CDROM image)
MIT Spam Conference 2007 Complete Papers and Proceedings (gzipped tar archive)
MIT Spam Conference 2006 Complete Papers and Proceedings (.iso CDROM image)
MIT Spam Conference 2006 Complete Papers and Proceedings (gzipped tar archive)
Thanks to Rob Targosz of McAfee (who works on the McAfee SiteAdvisor system we have near-realtime YouTube videos. To
find the videos, click on the link or serch YouTube for "spamconference" and
"spam conference". The short videos below are these videos.
9:35 Rich Segal: The Realtime Spam Filter Challenge
9:45 Jessica Baumgart: Blog Spam
10:15 Amanda Watlington: Search Engine Spam
10:45 Coffee and Donuts I
Considering the Source
11:00 Alberto Trevino: Relays and Header Analysis Revisited
11:20 Alberto Mujica: Reputation Management for Email
11:40 Joseph McIsaac: SPF and Symmetric DNS
12:00 Lunch (on your own)
Working the Text
13:30 Aaaron Emigh: Automatically Detecting Textual Blog Spam
13:50 Catalin Cosoi: Combining antispam filters
14:10 Manuel Martin-Merino / Angela Blanco: Ensembles of SVM filters
14:30 Coffee and Donuts II
Thinking Outside the text box
15:00 Tobias Eggendorfer: Tarpit simulation
15:20 Drugge/Beckman/Simpson: SMTP Multiplex throttling
15:40 Fumero/Biggio: Detecting image spam
16:00 Ken Dallmeyer: ELIZAing the Spammers
~16:20-onward Roundtable Rants / Late Breaking (all interested)
and adjourn to Informal Discussions- that is, self-organized
Due to transportation difficulties, the following paper was
accepted to MIT SC 2007, but was not able to be presented:
Nouman Azam: Feature selection and Latent Semantic Indexing . This paper is in the Proceedings CDROM (above).
Extra Information on Spam Conferences
For other Spam-Conference-like events, go to
In particular, the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group can be
found at maawg.org
MIT Spam Conference 2007 Sponsors
Senior Research Scientist
Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories
Cambridge, MA 02139
Last modified: Mon Apr 13 09:23:31 EDT 2009